How the law is changing for solicitors and how free-phone numbers can help them stay ahead of the competition in an increasingly challenging industry.
As of April 2013 the law is changing. Much to the horror of law firms up and down the country, solicitors will be banned from paying referral fees. As a consequence, many practitioners are attempting to become self-sufficient and preparing new marketing campaigns in order to acquire their own cases directly. Solicitors will need to ensure they can compete with one another and match the services previously provided by claims management companies. The Alternative Business Structure, also known as Tesco Law, is seeing the introduction of legal services becoming more prevalent in the UK. For example, Co-Op Legal Services currently operate a well-established platform that high street law firms may struggle to compete with. It is therefore vital that all law practitioners take steps to ensure their services are easily accessible by potential clients.
According to research carried out by Teleculture, 60% of consumers would prefer to call a company that offers a freephone number rather than a firm that only offers a local landline number. If your competitors are offering a 0800 number, they may well be receiving enquiries that should rightfully have reached you first. If law firms could see how much business they are currently losing because prospects are refusing to call their business numbers, they would be in touch with a 0800 number provider in a heartbeat.
In addition, as more and more users go mobile, it may be that companies will need to provide ‘mobile friendly’ numbers, like 0333 or 0330.
By introducing N 0800 or 03 number, law firms will provide an easier (and often more affordable) way for clients to contact them. Studies also show that up to 75% of callers simply hang up when their call is forwarded to a voicemail; so how much is this scenario costing your business? It isn’t always possible to answer every single phone call, but you can take steps to ensure that you can speak to as many potential clients as possible. customers calling 03 or 08 numbers can be put into call queues, which will keep your callers on the line until an agent is able to answer. An IVR system can also route your calls more efficiently so callers go straight through to the correct department. This lessens the burden on secretaries and switchboard operators.
Here at Blackpool Solicitors we we got in touch with 08Direct because we wanted to offer an 03 number for our clients. After the first month of using the 03 number, we have noticed an increase in phone calls by nearly 23%. They have fully utilised our feature-packed service, including a professionally recorded welcome message, and are now also able to divert calls out of office hours to a mobile number, which has resulted in a further boost in enquiries and consequent conversion rates.